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8thAug2016

Business Advice for Startups: 10 Ways to Stand Out Among Your Competitors

Business Advice for Startups: 10 Ways to Stand Out Among Your Competitors

If you’re just starting a business, you’re most likely entering an intensely competitive market. It’s hard not to bump elbows with your competition and it’s equally hard to stand out amongst them. Even though your market is crowded, you think you can sell your product or service better than the current businesses out there.

Our business advice for startups is to focus on standing out from the crowd. But how do you get noticed; how do you jumpstart your new business venture? Follow these 10 simple tips and create a business brand and culture that outshines your competition.

Stay Ahead of The Competition With This Business Advice for Startups

1. Offer 24 Hour Customer Service

Providing outstanding customer service will always win the hearts of new customers. Your potential customers have grown accustomed to a modern mentality of, “We want what we want, and we want it now.”   

Businesses that want to survive in today’s digital world have to be prepared to offer 24-hour assistance to help customers on their timetable. Consider hiring an affordable after hours answering service to cater to your customers on your behalf.

By investing in an answering service (that can cost as little as $20 a month), you’re going to have an advantage over your competition. While your competitors close off access to their company through the night and over the weekend, you can be the business that keeps communications open 24/7.

2. Solve a Popular Problem

Your target market has various problems that they’re trying to solve on a daily basis. Be the company that answers their problems and you can easily gain their loyalty.

It takes a bit of brainstorming and investigative research, but your goal is to try and hone in on what worries your customers. Start by reading forums associated with your product or service offered. For instance, if you sell a unique and revolutionary umbrella, check out the complaints and issues your target market has had with competitor products. 

After reviewing various sites, you’ll undoubtedly start to get a picture of what most frustrates your customers. Use this insider information to build an argument of why your unique product provides an answer to their chief complaints and problems.   

3. Develop a Unique Selling Point

unique selling point (USP), “is a factor that a business has that makes it different and or better than others out there. It makes a business stand out from the rest in a market.” In order to develop an effective USP, you must first adhere to these 3 qualifying guidelines:

  1. 1.) You have to clearly define why a consumer should buy your product. Fill in this sentence with a very unique and concise benefit: “Buy this product for {insert specific benefit}.”
  1. 2.) Your proposition needs to be 100% unique; in that another competitor cannot or currently does not make the same offer.
  1. 3.) Make your USP as strong and appealing as possible. To attract and gain the attention of new customers, you need to wow them with your USP. 

4. Answer to Your Target Audience

Make buying your product or service as easy as possible. Allow your website to supply all the answers to your consumers most frequently asked questions. Know that, “81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying [a product].” Keep this statistic in mind when creating a helpful FAQ landing page.

A common technique of successful sales professionals is turning a “no” into a “yes.” Frame your frequently asked questions so that you can sway an indecisive buyer. For example, if your market research shows that your target market is concerned that your product will not last very long, frame your FAQ’s to debunk their fear.

Taking the umbrella product referenced above, frame your FAQ as follows:

  • • What happens if my umbrella breaks after just a few times of use?

Our patented umbrella frame has been tested in the most severe weather. You can use our unique umbrella with confidence that it has been perfectly engineered to withstand high winds and heavy downpours. We offer a 5-year warranty on all umbrellas and invite you to simply return a defective umbrella, free of charge.  

5. Under Promise and Over Deliver

Our standard business advice for startups is to find a way to under promise and over deliver with all of your customer transactions. An easy way to accomplish this is to promise delivery of your product within 5 business days, but attempt to deliver the product in just 2-3 business days.

You can also include a small freebie in the shipping package of your product. Again, taking the umbrella example, maybe enclose a free umbrella cover with all of your purchases. When your customer receives this unexpected gift, they’ll will have a positive and overly satisfied reaction to their purchase.   

6. Focus on a Niche

Focusing on a niche market allows you to cater to a smaller target audience. Niche Marketing refers to, “competing within a narrowly defined market segment with a specialized offering. In essence, the firm virtually becomes a big fish in a small pond.”

Taking our trusty umbrella product example, you can form a niche market by focusing on selling your umbrella to the hunting community. With this niche market in mind, you can develop advertising and website content that is focused on keeping hunters dry while they’re in the woods and on the hunt.   

Find a way to market your product to a niche community and enjoy a higher market share. For inspiration, visit this Segmentation Study Guide that lists out varying examples of niche marketing.

7. Be Helpful Through Content

Although your customer remains king, in today’s internet fueled marketplace, content is equally as important. Your website content is the new storefront. It’s what will set you apart from your competitors.

Offer useful how to articles, informative blogs and other helpful information to be seen and known as an expert in your industry. Here are some ways you can leverage your content to help your audience:

  • • Compile a comprehensive list of industry statistics and research.
  • • Write an article in response to a recent story being highlighted in the news.
  • • Feature an “Ask an Expert” column on your blog.
  • • Spotlight your customers and share their stories with your readers.
  • • Offer opinion pieces on the latest technology in your industry.

In a recent article posted by Forbes, 50 Content Marketing Ideas for Your Website Or Blog, you can get even more inspiration for your content.   

8. Read Your Mail

When we recommend reading your mail, we’re talking about all incoming communications you receive. Paying close attention to your customers’ feedback and reviews will give you the power to improve your business.

Designate someone in your organization to:

  • • Review, in detail, all incoming email messages your business receives.
  • • Find any reoccurring problems or solutions referenced in web chats.
  • • Document your social media messages and reviews.
  • • Audit your online presence to locate reviews placed on third party sites.
  • • Summarize any customer service telephone calls with a focus on customer opinion.

Once you have gathered enough data, you and your team can brainstorm on ways you can improve and expand in areas that are receiving positive attention.

9. Enter Competitions for Accolades

In order to claim that you’re the best or are superior to your competitors, it’s wise to enter competitions to prove this. Our business answering service enters competitions, “so that we can be in the running to win fantastic awards, but mainly, we enter to keep our skills sharp, modern and within the top tier amongst our competitors.”

Entering competitions will give you the opportunity to put your skills to the test. Winning competitions will allow you to proudly showcase your awards and accolades with your customers.

10. Be Known for Honesty

From the beginning, stick to the policy of ‘saying what you mean and meaning what you say.’ A customer who feels they were deceived will go on a mission to let everyone know how you lied to them. Do your best to be upfront and transparent in all of your business transactions and relationships 

An honest reputation will win customer referrals and honorable mentions. Being known for being tricky will tarnish your reputation, sometimes, beyond repair.

Good Luck to Your New Business! We hope our business advice for startups help you succeed!

We sincerely hope these tips help get your brand in a winning position to outshine your competitors. For more business advice for startups, be sure to follow us on Facebook to get all new articles delivered straight to your newsfeed.

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